Mar 12, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Uvalde police chief resigns after report clears officers of blame in mass shooting

A police officer lays flowers outside Robb Elementary School in the town of Uvalde, Texas, the United States, May 27, 2022. At least 19 children and two adults were killed in a shooting at Robb Elementary School in the town of Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday. (Photo by Wu Xiaoling/Xinhua via Getty Images)

A police officer lays flowers outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 27, 2022. Photo: Wu Xiaoling/Xinhua via Getty Images

Uvalde Police Chief Daniel Rodriguez is resigning from the city's force, a public information officer confirmed to Axios Tuesday.

The big picture: The resignation, effective April 6, comes days after backlash to an independent report that cleared local law enforcement officers of blame for the May 2022 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in which 21 people were killed.

  • The findings were somewhat contrary to other reports, including one from the Department of Justice, which heavily criticized law enforcement's response.

State of play: The resignation, announced during a staff meeting Tuesday, came hours before the Uvalde City Council was expected to reject the independent report that was presented at their meeting last week, per CNN.

  • "I have full confidence that the police department will continue to thrive under new leadership, and I wish nothing but the best for the organization and its members in the future," Rodriguez said in his resignation letter.
  • He told Uvalde Leader-News, "I was not forced, asked or pressured by anyone in the city or the community to make the decision that I made."

Zoom in: Rodriguez was not in Uvalde the day of the shooting, and Lt. Mariano Pargas was serving as acting police chief in his place.

  • Pargas stepped down following backlash over the shooting's immediate response.

Context: The gunman killed 19 children and two adults, some of whom were shot while they were trapped inside classrooms with the shooter for more than an hour.

  • There was a 77-minute delay before police finally breached a door to a classroom and killed the lone gunman. More than 370 police responded to the shooting.
  • Local and state law enforcement agencies have faced fierce criticism over their response to the deadliest school shooting in Texas history.

Go deeper: Uvalde shooting: New report clears officers of blame to dismay of families

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